Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hayley: Fall 2008

School Girl Hayley has jumped enthusiastically into her first experience with school! She loves her teachers and loves all her friends. Above are pictures of a few memories from the first 2 months of Kindergarten:

  • The school Jog-a-thon...Hayley wasn't really into the jogging part but we cheered for her as she held Ms. Kellogg's hand and marched around the playground smiling.

  • The "self-portrait". Hayley had an assignment to do a family project making a self portrait. It ended up being one of our more successful FHE activities. Hayley and Maya both made one and had so much fun cutting fabric and gluing buttons. Mommy even got into it and had fun braiding yarn into hair.

  • The treasure chest. The blue teddy bear is the product of her first trip to the classroom treasure chest. The teachers tell the kids they can build a rainbow whenever they are being good or following directions. When they get 6 colors on their rainbow they get to go choose a prize from the treasure chest. Hayley lives for it! I thought the treasure chest would be all candy but I've been impressed that its cool toys that the kids are really excited about.

  • Friend of the Day:

  • In her class, they take turns being "Friend of the Day". When it is their turn they bring home the class "pet" for a night. It's a panther named Pattie. They (or their parents!) are responsible for bringing back a report in Pattie's journal telling the class what they did. It was sure fun to have an excuse to do a little digital scrapbooking, even if I was up against a deadline!

  • Learning the important things:
  • In the first week of school Hayley mastered the ability to snap her fingers and click her tongue! What skill!
  • We also make "pinkie-wishes" all the time (loop pinkie fingers with someone else and both make a wish...then whisper to each other what your wish was even though you pretend it's a secret...then giggle!)
  • About once a week I get updated on who her best friend is. We keep talking about how we want to have lots of good friends...not just one best friend. It's amazing to me how driven she is to find a best friend (even if it's a revolving door!)
  • They read a story the first week of school called "Kissing Hand". Now every morning when I drop her off I have to kiss the palms of her hand so she can put kisses on her cheeks whenever she needs them. How sweet!
  • Clapping games. Aunt Tammy has been teaching her "Down by the banks of the hanky-panky..." and other fun clapping games that have brought back all sorts of memories for me. If you have any fun favorites...email them to me!
  • Through all her new socializing, Hayley has figured out what a nick-name is. Our favorite story about this was a recent conversation we overheard her having with Maya.

Someone: "Bye, Tammy"


Maya: "Hey! Her name's not Tammy it's Aunt Tammy" (said indignantly!)


Hayley: "It's okay Maya, Aunt Tammy is her full name, but Tammy is her nick-name. So sometimes people call her Tammy."


Maya: "Oh." (completely trusting that her older, school-going sister
knows these important things about life!)

  • Mom's report card on school...I'm so happy with the school and teachers. I stop in with Maya and Alice about once a week to eat lunch. It keeps me up to date with all the friends. I've also been able to go volunteer (when daddy was home one day to watch the other 2). I like getting in the classroom to understand better what her day is like. I am also so happy with our decision to drop her off and pick her up instead of using the bus. Not only do we avoid whatever goes on on the bus, but I feel like I get a daily parent teacher conference as I pass her teachers in the hall. Most days they have something to tell me--like she did really great on something or they give me a heads up about something that upset her. I find this so helpful and am grateful for how well it is all working out.
I'm planning the class fall harvest party this week...how fun!



Writer/Reader

I've been so impressed with how Hayley's writing is blossoming. It's so exciting to me to receive cards from her with whole messages that she wrote all by herself! I'm so proud of her for trying her best even if it's not perfect.


"Mom, You are the best mom in the world. I just wanted to [tell you] I love you. From Hayley."


Hayley's also getting so good at making her own books. She writes a story and illustrates each page. It's amazing to me how many different ideas she comes up with for story lines. She can fill a whole notebook in no time flat! Here's a sample:


Once a boy planted a garden.

It grew and grew until it was time to pick.


The food was tasty.

Big Sister


Hayley is a great big sister. So often, she is the one to sacrifice in order to make peace. I'm so proud of how mature she can be when dealing with her younger sisters. Maya and Alice both love to play with Hayley. Alice perks up whenever Hayley comes into the room and waits for her attention. I love my silly girls and am so glad that they have such a great big sister to look up to!


Hair Salon

Hayley and I discovered this fun blog that shows you cute little-girl hair styles. She chooses one she likes and then we try it out. I love having new ideas...but I can sure spend a lot of time looking at them! If she gets up and gets herself ready quickly in the morning her reward is a "fancy" hair-do.



Late Nights & Free Time


Our bedtime schedule has shifted recently. Since Maya isn't taking naps anymore she has started going to be really early. Most nights she and Alice both go to sleep around 7pm (which is so early for us!) Hayley doesn't go to bed until about 9pm (she has never needed as much sleep as we'd like her to need!)


That gives us quiet, evening time with just Hayley. It seems like it's been so long since we've had this much time with just her. Mom and Dad end up bustling around for a lot of it finishing daily chores, making lunches, etc., but Hayley is getting used to finding quiet craft or journaling projects to work on. It's fun to just have her around when everything is so calm. I like to see what creative things she comes up with to make and what fun stories she writes for us.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Maya: Fall 2008

Maya-Girl: (2 years, 8 mos)


This is "Maya-girl". Where this began we're not sure. She truly believes her full name is Maya-girl and heaven help you if she's in a bad-mood and you simply say "Maya"! (As a side note, her younger sister's full and acceptable name is "baby-Alice")

The two pictures above are Maya in a nutshell: Always wearing an accessory. A spunky smile behind which is a great little sense of humor if she's in her comfort zone. A worried little scowl...she was born with that little scowl. She's my cautious little one. I remember it was so hard to take a picture of her as a baby without that little scowl. Nowadays we see it mostly when we are out in public and she's scared or unsure...noises, trucks, cars, strangers, etc.

Freckles:



Can you see them? Maya had the tiniest little freckles pop out this summer. For some reason, as much as I think it's just wrong that I'm 30 and I still have freckles...I still think her freckles are the cutest thing ever!


My little event-planner:




For the first time in her life, Maya is getting a lot of alone time with Mommy! Now that Hayley is at school she and I get to hang out alone for several hours each day while Alice is sleeping. Maya has great ideas of games we can play together. One of her current favorites is Hullabaloo. She got creative and set them up on our little trampoline so we could bounce from one to the next together. What a cutie!


ABC & 123:

For the longest time Maya has had no interest in letters or numbers...wouldn't even sing along with the ABC song. Then one day in September she suddenly became facinated with the alphabet and counting things. Within 2 weeks she basically learned the names of the letters, what they look like and the sound they make plus how to count things! I was amazed. A few resources that were avaiable to her that I love for teaching these basic things are:
  • The Letter Factory DVD (Leapfrog)
  • Starfall Website (great fun website for pre-readers and readers)
  • Lots of ABC magnets
  • Mom's extraordinary ability to sing the ABC song and count everything as we drive along!
I love this "sponge" stage that she's coming into. She loves to learn. I love hearing her point letters out to me that she sees as we drive down the road (mostly letters that are in her name or one of our names). I feel so privledged to be the primary care-giver at the age when they soak up anything you give them. Wouldn't trade it for the world!


PB&J:

One cute querk that we love about Maya is that she has a specific way of saying things. Instead of asking for her daily PB&J she tells me every day that she wants a "peanut butter sandwich with strawberry jam on it" (as if I'd ever dare make it with anything else!). And if you ask her what she wants to drink the answer is always "apple juice in a pink cup" (let me assure you it's not worth trying it in a cup of any other color). She's very polite and sweet about it but her little world just has certain rules and things need to abide by them!

Imagine!


Maya is in the height of pretend play! I love how many hours can slip away as her little imagination takes her to lands far away. Her current favorites are Disney Princesses and My Little Ponies. But she also loves to play people using different sizes of pencils and crayons all lined up.

Cleaning Lady:

Since I spend so much time cleaning, I really like to get kids to have fun cleaning with me. It seems like Maya's been less enthusiastic about my great idea than Hayley ever was, but recently she finally started having fun cleaning with me. Hurray! I don't feel as bad because we are spending time together and our house still gets cleaned. This particular day she spent the whole time it took me to deep-clean the kitchen, scrubbing the table and chairs. Wow! Clean table! But when I took a picture of her the deal was that she wanted to take a picture of me doing my chores too. And with my new goal to stop dodging the camera...here I am too!


Aunt Tammy's little buddy:

Soon after Tammy arrived Maya helped her get her car "Bluebell" all cleaned up. We name our cars and the girls talk about them as if they are a member of the family. If anyone is ever leaving, Maya wants to know if Annabelle or Rosie is going (the car and van, respectively). When Tammy moved in, they were happy to learn that her car had a name too. Sometimes I wonder if they care more about Bluebell than Tammy! Whenever we drive up to the house and Tammy's not home, someone always says, "Where's Bluebell?" As we play outside and watch cars driving into the neighborhood they'll call out "Is that Bluebell?" But the truth of it is that they know that if Bluebell is here, so is Aunt Tammy!

Maya also asks Tammy on a regular basis why she doesn't have a home. We repeat the same conversation that we've had many times that this is now Tammy's home. Somehow this is an odd concept in her little paradigm that everyone should have a family and a home. We're hoping she can accept it soon so Tammy won't have to keep explaining. In the meantime, we're glad that Tammy has a sense of humor and loves our little Maya-girl and all her querkiness!

Alice: Fall 2008

September 28, 2008: 7 1/2 months


Just gotta love Alice's open mouth whenever you point a camera at her! I love her big open smile and it's in almost every picture. She also gives the best slobbery kisses with that cute open mouth!
Alice hasn't been in a big hurry to crawl...and we're okay with that. She scoots around sitting on her bottom and gets mad that she's stuck on her tummy sometimes...but there's always a sister that will bring the toys to her!


Alice has an easy-going, sweet disposition. She rarely cries (unless a certain 2 year old sister is "loving" her a little too much!) and has the most contagious smile. We just love this little girl and feel so blessed to have her in our family!

October 1st, 2008: 8 months


Alice seems to move from one developmental stage to the next in one sudden leap. She might start doing that cool new thing slightly later than her peers but when she decides she's ready--she goes for it. Eating for example. One day she gagged on baby food if it had any small lump in it. I had to puree everything completely. The next day she was ready to dine and started eating almost everything we were eating. Cheerios, bread, lasagna, rice, beans, etc!


The picture above was my little oranged faced lunch lady--one day this past month when I couldn't think of what to give her for lunch I opened a lone can of macaroni and beef to try it out. Now I remember why I don't give this to finger feeders. Her eyebrows were orange for the whole day! But she sure thought it was good.


October 4th, 2008: 8 months old


October 6th, 2008

Alice started crawling today--not just the bum-scoot thing! She's all of the sudden keeping me on my toes. She can get from one room to the next so fast...I need to child-proof all over again. Today I left her in the front room then suddenly turned around to find her splashing in my mop bucket in the kitchen...how did that happen?!? She's so excited about her new-found independence!
Aunt Tammy captured it on video for us...

video

Wheat Quick

We love keeping this recipe for Wheat-Quick on hand. It makes great whole wheat pancakes and waffles fast. I just keep it in a large zip-lock bag in the fridge.





WHEAT QUICK
8 C whole-wheat flour
1/3 C baking powder
4 t. salt
½ C honey or sugar
1 ½ C oil
1¼ C dry milk powder

Mix thoroughly and store in airtight container in refrigerator. Use as you would commercial Bisquick.

WAFFLES
2 C wheat quick mix
1 egg
3/4 C water (approx)
2 T oil

Bake on hot waffle iron. Tip: For a lighter waffle, use 2 eggs, separated. Whip the whites and gently fold them in last.

PANCAKES
2 C wheat quick mix

1 egg

1 ½ C water (approx.)


Fry on hot griddle. Top with fresh fruit, yogurt, honey, jam, etc.





London Bridges

London bridges is one of our favorite Family Home Evening games right now. Something about the anticipation of getting "locked up induces the cutest giggles!

Journaling Marathon

Since I treat this as our family journal/scrapbook I need to get caught up for the past 2 months of pictures. So enjoy...or skim over the next many many posts. I think I have about 15+ on my list of to-dos...yikes. We'll see how far I get.


Also, I wrote a post titled "Bread-Snobs" here but didn't have the full instructions for one of the recipes. I finally got all 4 pages of instructions typed up so it's all there if you're trying to make the Challah bread. It's not "4 pages-hard" to make but I typed mindlessly instead of trying to condense it for you. I couldn't get the spacing to work like I wanted so I'd cut and paste it to Word and do your own spacing before printing or it's going to be hard to follow it all!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Photographic Evidence

I have recently been aware that I am not in pictures with my kids very often. Either I'm the one behind the camera or I conveniently step out of the way because they are so much cuter or more accurately I think I'm not so cute in the moment (you've done the same!) Yes, I am your mom. Yes, I'm there everyday...doing the normal daily things of life day in and day out! But now I'm determined to have more photographic evidence. And wallah! With Aunt Tammy popping up to record my daily adventures it's so easy. So prepare to see more of the real me...ready or not!

Welcome Aunt Tammy!


Ryan's youngest sister, Tammy moved in with us 2 weeks ago...hurray!!! We love having Aunt Tammy's fun loving personality around so much. Tammy is so great with kids plus she's so fun to talk to!

Tammy graduated from BYU in Anthropology in April. She's moved out here to D.C. to utilize a lot of contacts that she has in the museum field and hopefully to land a great career. Besides the full-time work of job hunting and networking she's studying for the GRE and working on several other worth while projects. She's been so brave figuring out mass-transit and getting involved in the D.C. singles life.

We promise we're trying to carry on living life as normal and not take advantage of Tammy too often but it's hard because she's just so sweet and giving all the time! I have to admit it's been nice to have an extra pair of hands many times, especially on Ryan's long days. It's fun to have more adult conversation during the day and someone to do dishes with at night. I also love the great self-confidence builder that Tammy is. Whenever she is witness to a melt-down or temper tantrum or whatever other parenting trials I may face, she always compliments me and seems genuinely impressed with how I handled it. Everyone should have an Aunt Tammy on their shoulder to say "great job, Mom!"


I'm also really excited to find my inner-artist (that I've never really found!) Tammy is an artist and has an appreciation for art all around her. It's so fun to see the world from her eyes sometimes. It's helping me to appreciate more little things in my day. She inspired me to take close up pictures of my kids toys as they played. They make beautiful classic shots and what a fun memory they will be. Once I have enough, I'm sure you'll see them. In the meantime, it's fun to have Tammy influencing our daily life in so many positive ways! Welcome Tammy!